Prescriptions for paracetamol and other basic over-the-counter medicines are swallowing up NHS money which could be better spent on other healthcare services.
Simple painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can be bought for pennies from pharmacies and supermarkets. But they cost the NHS more than six times as much when they are provided on prescription.
That is the message from healthcare commissioners Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Thurrock CCG who are running an ongoing joint campaign to tackle medicines waste. Download the campaign poster here
The CCGs are asking patients to purchase basic medicines such as paracetamol and ibuprofen themselves instead of asking GPs for a prescription. GPs in south west Essex currently write about 110,000 prescriptions a year for readily available painkillers at a potential cost of £3.75million to both organisations.